Pacific Power has offered to give the Albany urban renewal district (CARA) $63,548 to set up public charging stations for electric vehicles downtown.
The proposed grant is a discussion item on the May 20 agenda of the CARA advisory board. The city council, which acts as the city’s urban renewal agency, then is scheduled to accept it.
The CARA board talked about the possibility of adding EV charging stations downtown last year. Since then the city talked with Pacific Power, which provides free technical consulting for EV chargers through its partner C2 Group.
Engineers checked out several public parking lots downtown to see which would best support “multiple charging stations with easy access and minimum expensive upgrades,” a memo to the CARA board says.
Sophie Dykast, the economic development coordinator who worked on this, wouldn’t tell me how many stations were being planned, or where. These details are reserved for the meeting.
The grant means CARA can go ahead without paying start-up costs, such as buying the stations and setting them up. “Charging at these public stations could be managed so that users’ fees cover the cost of electricity and maintenance,” Dykast’s memo said.
Conditions of the grant include that at least one of the stations be of the direct-current, fast-charging kind, that the equipment be maintained at least 10 years, and be available to the public.
The proposed Albany Revitalization Agency (ARA) resolution accepting the grant says charging stations fit the goals of CARA, created 20 years ago to draw more people downtown and thus strengthen its economic life.
The parking slots with the new chargers presumably will have to become off-limits to conventional vehicles. Whether that’s an issue the CARA board and council will have to decide.
But if you’ve been avoiding downtown Albany because there’s no place to recharge your Tesla or Leaf or other electric ride, that excuse may soon be gone. (hh)